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Reporter describes Baghdad abduction

DUBLIN -- An Irish reporter who was abducted by Shi'ite extremists in Baghdad and freed 36 hours later said yesterday he had braced himself for the prospect of several months in captivity -- or a beheading.

Rory Carroll, a correspondent for The Guardian newspaper of Britain, told Ireland's RTE state broadcasters he owed his speedy salvation to Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Chalabi, who brokered his release.

Carroll said his abductors drove to an abandoned area, forced him to replace his clothes with ''something more Iraqi-looking," switched cars, then took him to a family's home. There they locked him in a narrow concrete passageway."

Once there, Carroll said he was treated well, given access to a toilet and a shower and a few meals.

''I had been bracing myself for several grisly outcomes: I could be in this cell for weeks, possibly months," he said.

''I was also afraid that I would be handed over to another gang which . . . could turn out to be an insurgent group who in the past had beheaded Western hostages."

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